Daily Devotions

In October of 2016 Renée and I went to the Shepherd's Canyon Retreat Center, just west of Phoenix, AZ. (Total mileage, driving there and back, 5,200.) They have an excellent program designed to encourage pastors and their wives in their ministries. 
    There's one week of pretty intense meetings. There are group sessions, couples sessions, individual sessions. Know this: there were assignments to be done before the next session.
    My maternal grandfather, who served in the United States Army, and who had been around the world (he's now with the Lord), often said that he "loved the desert." Growing up in Alexandria, VA, and thinking that Washington, D.C. was the  center of the world, I often wondered why he would say that.
    I've come to agree with him. There's a lot of life in the desert, once you get used to seeing it. It's not so barren as we East Coast people, surrounded by mountains and greenery, think it is.
    It's quite different, of course. In addition to the life of the desert, there's beauty, and remoteness, and quiet. There's usually a town somewhere nearby. It doesn’t hurt that the American Southwest also has great Mexican restaurants.
    Our trip there was refreshing, re-energizing, and challenging.
    Getting away is always refreshing, as long as you remember that you're also going to "go back" to where you came from.
    The challenging part was that the counselors kept asking direct questions. They listened to our answers, and had some helpful feedback.
    One of the things they asked that really convicted me was: "Do you spend time in couples devotions?"
    How many of us do? We're busy. We go in opposite directions too much. We get to bed late, exhausted, and ready to collapse. This is true for pastors the same as it is for everybody else.
    Of course many people are surprised to know that the pastor and his family don’t spend enough time in meditation and prayer. I'll appeal to the aforementioned schedule and exhaustion. 
    So, we agreed that we'd add this. Most days (to say "every day" suggests a perfection that doesn’t quite exist) we end our day with a favorite devotional book, and a time of prayer. I pray one night; Renée prays the next.
    Our prayers are for our loved ones, the needs of the congregation and the school, our staff, our volunteers, the prayer requests that have become known to us.
    The devotional book is "A Year with C.S. Lewis." I found this book at Barnes and Noble years ago, and have read from it off and on ever since. Now, nearly daily.
    Many of our prayer topics get covered once per week. We've been praying daily about our search for an Associate Pastor. Given the size of our congregation, the ministries that we conduct (or better, that God conducts through us), and the additional ministry of the school, we need that help.
    The odd thing to think about is the fact that God already knows where this is headed. For us, living in "real time" as we do, there's a Call Committee, a Voters Assembly to take all official actions, interview questions, PIF's and SET's (yes even the church uses alphabet soup; these are informational documents about pastors), interviews, and always, prayer.
    As of today, we do not know who our next Associate Pastor will be. But Renée and I are already praying for him and his family. I would ask you to join us in this. May God's will be done; and may we find it through the working of His Holy Spirit among us.

In His Service,

Pastor Walt